Family Art Activities

A Message to Families

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, SFCAC has temporarily closed the Fort Mason studio and our artist residencies with school site partners have been postponed. However, we remain committed to our mission to empower children to develop their sense of self through artistic exploration. Now more than ever, it is essential for us to use the power of artmaking to express our ideas & emotions, to lift our spirits, and to connect with one another in meaningful ways.

Engaging in artmaking as a family is a way to bond and grow together.  Please enjoy these recommendations for family art activities that are designed to be open-ended for children of all ages and use materials that most families already have at home.

We recommend revisiting activities and doing them again and again. Repetition allows children to build on prior knowledge and make new discoveries.

Spanish and Chinese translations for some of these activities are available, see links below.

How do we support children’s creativity? 

(Click to view) a short discussion with Teacher Gail on ways to foster your child’s creative development.

Share what you create together on our Community page:

We encourage you to send us photos of your family creating together and will share it with the community to bolster all of our spirits.  Please email photos to and we’ll post them on our community page.

Links to Family Art Activities (Click name of the activity to link to video instructions):

String Drawings * con video en español de Señora Adriana
Explore using segments of string or yarn to create lines. (Designed for ages 3-6, but fun for all ages)

Shape & Tape * con video en español de Señora Adriana
Explore cutting shapes from paper and piecing them together to create new expressions. (Designed for ages 3-6, but fun for all ages)  

Cardboard Sculptures  * con video en español de Señora Adriana
Explore using cardboard pieces to create 3-dimensional expressions. (Designed for ages 3-6, but fun for all ages)

Paper Strip Sculptures  * con video en español de Señora Adriana
Explore transforming 2-dimensional strips of paper into 3-dimensional sculptures. (Designed for ages 3-6, but fun for all ages)

Texture Rubbings * con video en español de Señora Adriana
Use crayon and paper to explore the textures of objects found around the home and in nature. (Designed for ages 3-6, but fun for all ages)

Baker’s Clay Sculptures 
Make your own clay using flour, salt, and water and then create your own sculpture expression.

Homemade Playdough 
Make your own playdough and parents will learn more about the developmental benefits of being process-oriented when we make art. Includes ideas for using playdough for found-object sculptures and observational drawing activities for older children.

Nature Collage 
Explore using objects found in nature (leaves, sticks, flowers, rocks, etc) to create open-ended collage expressions.

TP Roll Sculptures
Discover the many sculptural possibilities that come from transforming toilet paper rolls into imaginative expressions.

Milk Carton Sculptures 
Transform recycled milk cartons into unique 2-dimensional expressions.

Puppets & Puppet Theater 
Design your own unique characters and settings to create your own puppet theaters. Includes methods for brainstorming, a story spine for improvised storytelling, and a special technique for putting on a puppet show via Zoom conferencing.

Lego Printmaking 
Re-purpose Lego blocks as printmaking tools to create designs with paint on paper.

Marbelized Paper
Use shaving cream and liquid watercolor paints to make beautiful marbelized paper designs.

Single-Sheet Book Designs 
Fold and cut single sheets of paper into 3 different designs of multi-page and accordion fold “flutter” books.

Coffee Filter Paintings 
Explore how ordinary coffee filters can be transformed in a variety of ways by folding and dipping in liquid watercolor.